It's almost over it seems. The time of being masked and constrained nears its end. On the other hand, already another strain of COVID is showing up, but the reality is that we, as an entire world, are at our limits.
It seems great that we're almost there, except that we really have a lot of things that we need to work through, and many of them may be far harder than COVID, masks, inoculations, and social distancing. The wounds that have opened over the last 2 years are far deeper, far more scarred, and far more gangrenous than many of us were prepared for.
As we come back, it is far too easy and tempting to attempt to go back to old habits and practices and forget what has just happened and the mirror that we saw ourselves in. We, as Christians…we, as the church…cannot just come back.
Many of us will “come back” to church and be unwilling to be uncomfortable. The world has trained us to be exactly like the Corinthians…divided. And, even worse, we may be more divided than the culture at large, which should terrify and condemn us.
Paul was speaking on how the rich self-segregated from the poor. Instead of common communion, it was a separate one. Instead of a “love feast” celebrating unity, Communion (the memorial of Christ's death and resurrection!) shined the light on the division, and it was then unworthy of the grace that Jesus had bestowed upon them.
While we may not take Communion separately in the church, there is no question that the church is divided. Whether it is by culture, country, skin color, language, socio-economic class, or even denomination, the church is divided.
The community that Jesus granted the world the right to judge regarding love (John 13:35), desperately needs to love one another. As we learn to love each other, looking beyond politics, borders, skin color, language, power, weakness, honor, shame, wealth, it will be hard.
Learning to love beyond ourselves isn't optional. For those that follow Jesus, it is an act of loving obedience.
As you prepare to go/come back to normal, is the “old” normal really what Jesus wants from you?
What is one thing that you will do different as the situation settles into the new way of things?
Jesus, the craziness of these last 2 years may feel like forever, and, yet, in your eyes, it was only a breath. Grant us the grace and peace and love to come together as your disciples to show that your love can truly transform the human heart, and from the human heart transform the world. Amen.
Ian is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, and is currently Co-Lead Pastor at Enumclaw Nazarene Church in Enumclaw, WA, USA.
He has previously served as Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA; Associate Pastor at Snohomish Church of the Nazarene; College and Young Adult Pastor at Moscow Church of the Nazarene in Moscow, ID, USA.
Ian also writes at Starlyth.info (personal) and Nazarene.Digital (On Digital Transformation of the Church)